November 12, 2007

Monday morning quarterback: UNC

The Wolfpack is now at .500 overall (5-5) and in the ACC (3-3) with its fourth straight win. The latest triumph may be the sweetest yet, a 31-27 victory over rival North Carolina in Carter-Finley Stadium in thrilling fashion. Now it's time for some Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

Key moment of the game:
It came in the fourth quarter. UNC had all the momentum after taking a 27-24 lead and then forcing a three and out on the ensuing State possession, getting sacks on second and third downs. After a 47-yard punt, Carolina took over first and 10 at its own 31-yard line.

On first down freshman quarterback T.J. Yates hit freshman running back Johnny White on a swing pass that went to near midfield. But just as the Heels could celebrate a first down there was a flag spotted on the field. UNC had an illegal block on the play and was pushed back to the 27-yard line.

That penalty seemed to have halted the Heels' momentum. White ran for no gain and then Yates completed a four-yard pass to freshman receiver Greg Little to set up third and 10. On that play sophomore defensive end Willie Young hit Yates as he prepared to throw the ball, and senior defensive tackle DeMario Pressley made a nice interception around his knees.

State took over at the UNC 25-yard line with 5:38 left on the clock. Eight plays later, seven of them rushing, State was in the end zone and there was just 1:41 left on the clock.

Three Things That Worked:

1. Rush Defense
Seemed like most of the talk entering the game was could NC State possibly stop UNC on the ground. After giving up 314 yards rushing to Miami, it would seem inevitable that the Heels would come out pounding away. They didn't, and never did establish a run game because every attempt was thwarted by a stiff defense. The stat does not lie, 12 yards rushing on 20 carries with a longest run of nine yards for UNC.

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